Erika Moen’s Comics Give Thousands of Readers the Sex Education They Want and Need

Erika Moen’s Comics Give Thousands of Readers the Sex Education They Want and Need

Ever wish that your questions about sex and pleasure were conveniently answered for you in an easily digestible, cutely illustrated, and accessible comic series? Yeah, we didn’t know that’s what we wanted until we heard about it either. That’s why we had to talk to Erika Moen, the sex-positive illustrator saving our sex lives one panel at a time


For readers who may not know, what do you do for a living and why is it awesome?
Erika Moen: For the last 17 years I have been making comics (mostly) about my life and sharing them on the internet. I’ve been lucky enough to do this as my full-time job for the last seven years and two years ago managing the business side of my art also became my husband’s full-time job as well! We write scripts together, I draw them, he colors them, and then he handles all the website stuff and monetizes the comics.


Tell us about an awesome project you’re working on right now.

EM: My days are filled with working on Oh Joy Sex Toy! It’s a weekly comic about all things sex-related, from sex toy reviews to sex education to interviews with people in the sex industry.


Would you say there’s any sort of theme or message in the works that you’ve created? How do you like to inject your personality into your comics?

EM: The main theme of the series is to present the many facets and accouterments around sex in a positive, friendly light so people can better understand their bodies and desires and make educated, informed decisions about their sex lives. Basically, I’m trying to make the comics that I needed when I was learning about sex.


Image courtesy of Oh Joy Sex Toy.

Image courtesy of Oh Joy Sex Toy.


What are your hopes for your future and the future of your illustrating career?

EM: Hopefully I can afford to continue working on sex positive comics until I just don’t want to any more! Some day I look forward to telling other stories too, I’d love to finish a collaborative fiction story I started with a friend years ago and I’d like to do a book of short essay-like comics about important events I’ve experienced.


What advice would you give for other women who are considering freelancing full-time?

EM: Build your financial safety net at your regular job before making the jump to full-time freelancing. Save every last penny you possibly can, cut out all non-essential expenses, so you can have (ideally) about six months worth of expenses covered while you switch into being responsible for hustling up paid work.

Start taking on freelance work while you’re still employed so that you’ll already have a network of clients and projects and resources in place when you go full-time. Here’s an advice comic I did during my first year of full-time freelancing. I totally recommend people check out Katie Lane’s website. It’s an invaluable resource for freelancers and the self-employed in the creative industry; her advice honestly changed my business life (for the better!).


Is there something specific that sparked your interest in storytelling?

EM: Storytelling has always been important to me, since I was a child. It’s powerful to pluck elements from the random chaos of your life and give them significance by turning them into a narrative with direction. Life makes more sense when you can turn it into a story.


Can you describe one of your proudest moments since starting to create comics?

EM: Meeting so many other people who have experienced similar or identical things as I have, when we all thought we were the only ones.


What has been one of your biggest career challenges, and how did you overcome it?

EM: Internet harassment and I’ll let you know how I overcome it once I figure that out myself!


Image courtesy of Oh Joy Sex Toy.

Image courtesy of Oh Joy Sex Toy.


What has been one of your favorite comic projects?

EM: “Queer” is one of the comics that I am most proud of. It’s a two-page story explaining what that word means to me and why I identify so strongly with it.


Where do you find your best inspiration?

EM: My husband, my friends, and my bookshelves.


What is the biggest misconception people have about making a living as a freelancer?

EM: That you can make your own hours, which means you can go do activities with people at any old time during the work day. I mean, you can, but personally I really need to stick to a predetermined schedule and keep my work hours regimented, I need stability. An old joke amongst the artists I know goes, “Yeah we get to make our own hours. Any 16 hours of the day we choose!”


Do you have any advice for young girls interested in pursuing illustrating?

EM: Draw, draw, draw! Don’t wait to make it perfect before you share it online. If you want to be a professional artist who meets deadlines, learn to accept that “good enough” is your friend when that project is due, and your “good enough” is going to keep improving the more you work you complete.


Any up and coming illustrators, designers, or artists you think are awesome?

EM: Everyone at Periscope Studio is super impressed by our latest intern, Aud Koch! Her comic work is already so developed, distinctive, and lovely for a newcomer. She’s very impressive!